15 Holland America Oosterdam Cruise Reviews for Romantic Cruises to Mexican Riviera

If you're looking for an extra special way to spend NYE don't book this cruise. You pay a premium to fly & cruise at this time of year so you expect the ship would really go the extra mile. Holland America has a reputation ... Read More
If you're looking for an extra special way to spend NYE don't book this cruise. You pay a premium to fly & cruise at this time of year so you expect the ship would really go the extra mile. Holland America has a reputation for catering to an older crowd but this trip made me feel like I was on a Disney ship and all the problems that travelling with "little darlings" entails.( ie ice cream fights in the Lido buffet, throwing objects during the Main stage shows, and you can imagine what the diapers in the pool caused.) Don't worry about dressing up for Gala Nights. People came in wearing raggy cut-off, well worn logo T-shirts, flip flops, etc. New Year's Eve itself was just a regular cruise event - nothing special set up. A band was setting up by the pool but didn't start till 11:30 if you wanted to sit around and wait. Certainly not a dancing area. On New Year's day, there was no evening show and even OnBoard Billboard (one of the more popular events) did not have a show. I realize it was a good time for families to travel, but you could easily pick out the ones that trained their children on proper behaviour or manners and the ones that assign that responsibility to others - in this case, cruise ship workers. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Loved our first 2 cruises on Oosterdam most recent was perhaps 4 years ago to Alaska our first to Alaska years ago this was the Alaska too. We were delayed a day due to repairs on ship we had to miss mazaltan disappointed we went on this ... Read More
Loved our first 2 cruises on Oosterdam most recent was perhaps 4 years ago to Alaska our first to Alaska years ago this was the Alaska too. We were delayed a day due to repairs on ship we had to miss mazaltan disappointed we went on this cruise to go there as weve already visited Cabo and Puerto Vallarta on pasr Princess,We loved how easy it was to fly Alaskan Airlines to San Diego from PDX and really easy to get the bus out front to cruise port was a breeze too.The bus is set up like a airport parking lot bus so you luggage is no worry thing loved it for a couple bucks think 2,50 well worth it.Skip the transfers its right out front only goes to cruise port every 15 minutes or so. on board things have changed we missed the clear staircase in the middle of shop it looked amazing and great in photos.I didn't care much for the buffet seemed to be repeats each day, Hand santitizers weren't always full or available with people montering them in buffet or dining rooms. Weve always had balcony rooms the only way to go.Wished we had doors to leave open a bit to hear the waves and ocean air.Entertainment is no where near as good as I remember on past cruises.The crew were not as happy as before all anxious for their contracts to be done so they could move on.Loved our cabin attendant Dewa a very cheerful hard worker.Hated the tender into Cabo we had seniors that weren't to stable on their feet and I was scared for them but I think theres gotta be a better way for them to get aboard . Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We enjoy San Diego and had not done the Mexican Riviera before. We enjoyed the cruise but would likely not choose to do this particular one again - once was sufficient. We only did one excursion, choosing otherwise just to explore on our ... Read More
We enjoy San Diego and had not done the Mexican Riviera before. We enjoyed the cruise but would likely not choose to do this particular one again - once was sufficient. We only did one excursion, choosing otherwise just to explore on our own. Of the 3 ports visited Puerto Vallarta was our favorite. Cabo was just too touristy, and we didn't really get a chance to see the place as we did an excursion there so there was no time to see the city. We are now rather spoiled and always choose a Neptune Suite when possible for the roominess and perks that go with them. I would say that the food is consistently good, and the portions are a sensible size. (You can always order more if you like.) We like the fixed seating option so you get to know some new friends and the wait staff get to know you. However, fixed seating seems to be becoming less and less popular. This time we requested a table for 6 (our usual choice) but there were only 4 at the table, and more often than not there were just the 2 of us there. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
This 7 day HAL cruise from San Diego seemed a great way to get some sunshine and warmer weather. We enjoyed all three ports. As we had visited and taken tours on a past cruise, this trip we opted for taxis and trips to the beach which ... Read More
This 7 day HAL cruise from San Diego seemed a great way to get some sunshine and warmer weather. We enjoyed all three ports. As we had visited and taken tours on a past cruise, this trip we opted for taxis and trips to the beach which worked out well and cost a lot less. The service on the ship was excellent but that’s what we have come to expect from HAL. We enjoyed the food in the Lido and main dining room and had great service with one exception where the waiter mixed up and forgot some orders. Oh well, 6/7 is pretty good. We had open dining this cruise and chose to sit at larger tables where we met a variety of interesting people. The entertainment was great and we really enjoyed the cooking shows in America’s Test Kitchen. The Oosterdam is an older ship and could do with some refurbishment but our ocean view cabin was in pretty good shape, tub and tv looked new and our cabin steward was very efficient. We were very happy with our trip and paid a deposit on a future cruise as we are definitely sailing with HAL again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
This was our second time cruising with HAL. Our first time was 1998 Hawaii and back, and was the standard by which we judged all other cruises since; the service was great. Wanted to try HAL again now that we are older and making more ... Read More
This was our second time cruising with HAL. Our first time was 1998 Hawaii and back, and was the standard by which we judged all other cruises since; the service was great. Wanted to try HAL again now that we are older and making more money and see if it was worth building loyalty points. Also our 20th anniversary. The suite service and concierge level was the only thing that saved the cruise, and that we were willing to pay extra for the fine dining. The restaurant staff and service was what we had in the dining room those many years ago, it was great! And the food was several times better than Princess' Sabatino's. As another cruiser said, the dining room was abysmal. No smiles, no wine list, I was told I could only get the house wine. The Lido food was merely OK and the servers there were harried and showed it. I was expecting greater things from the hype about their Chef-retooled cuisine, it should have gone to all levels of dining. Room service took hours and the sandwich I ordered off the room service menu was great and perfect the first time and the second made completely wrong. We could have waited another couple of hours for them to make it right, I guess. The room was great, very spacious. The bed was wonderful and we have ordered one from HAL, they sell them. The concierge service was great. We went prepared to spend most of our $ on liquor and tips, which we did. Also, even though the SA is a suite, the embarkation people made me get in the regular line, saying it was Superior only. After winding through the line to where I could reach the expediter, she said the same thing the looked at the room number and expedited us. HAL did not win our loyalty. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Embarked in San Diego and initial baggage handling was quick and efficient...I had a walker so was directed to another entrance since the elevator was not working and was disappointed that we missed out on the boarding picture.The cabin ... Read More
Embarked in San Diego and initial baggage handling was quick and efficient...I had a walker so was directed to another entrance since the elevator was not working and was disappointed that we missed out on the boarding picture.The cabin was nice and spacious and the steward was very accommodating but disappointed that our room had a fully obstructed view. Unable to switch room due to the fact that the ship was at full capacity. The Lido menu was the same day after day. The glasses for tea and drinks small (4 ounces?) The food quality and presentation were lack luster and boring. The staff were very attentive & helpful. Enjoyed our evening at Le Cirque in the Pinnacle Room...the food was delicious and the service superb. Met Marco the owner of Le Cirque and he was a gracious host. Entertainment was great...the comedian and Peter Peterkin were outstanding. Most of the venues & poolside were over crowded and had a hard time finding a seat. Tried several nights to attend Karaoke...but never was able to get in the door.We feel the ship needs some TLC...carpet & seats torn in several areas...ship feels claustrophobic at times..low ceilings and dark colors. We have been on Royal Caribbean and Carnival,so comparing them, we would say the Oosterdam is the Motel 6 of cruises. We don't think we will go another HAL cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
From the time we entered security from the street until we were in our stateroom was literally 15 minutes. Everyone was friendly and efficient. This couldn't have gone better.Entertainment included energetic, polished and exciting ... Read More
From the time we entered security from the street until we were in our stateroom was literally 15 minutes. Everyone was friendly and efficient. This couldn't have gone better.Entertainment included energetic, polished and exciting production shows. Dancing was fabulous and the lead singers were great particularly when singing duets. Peter Peterkin (the Rockin' President) offered a fabulous hour of musical impersonations from Barack Obama to Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and more. He came back for a encore show the last day of the cruise, receiving a standing ovation both times. Leo Ward put on a very flashy magician show and later offered a follow-up show to teach the audience a few tricks. Kevin Jordan delivered a somewhat dark comedy show which received lots of laughs, although I was somewhat offended by his jokes involving small children and cruelty to animals. A Beatles tribute on the last night by one of the lead singers was great.Darlene and the HAL Cats performed on the Lido deck and Ocean Lounge with 70's, 80's, and 90's music throughout the cruise.We could sing along with just about every song. Karaoke existed, but wasn't a big deal on this cruise. We enjoyed the Filipino show put on by the staff.The disembarkation talk at the end of the cruise was nicely done and ended with the staff singing a farewell song to the audienceFood in the Lido restaurant was served quickly with a good selection from hamburgers and fries to beef tenderloin and trimmings including soups and salads and a desert and ice cream bar. Service was quick--we never waited more than a few minutes to be served. The Vista dining room offered efficient and warm service. The menu offered several appetizers, soups and salads along with six or seven entrees each evening. The presentation and taste of each serving was always done very well. The last night with the staff's show was fun.The Culinary Arts Center was a pleasant surprise with food preparation demonstrations from visiting and cruise ship chefs as well as wine tasting and decoration demonstrations. Craig, who ran the Tech Center, was very approachable and able to teach to the level of audience.Ports of Call on this cruise included Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. Puerto Vallarta best area is Old Town which is a 120 peso taxi fare from the ship (or a 6 1/2 peso bus ride--the bus can be caught about 1 block from the gangway. Just look for a bus with Centro to get into town and a bus marked Walmart in the window to get back to the ship). Old town offers a mile long beach front walk called the Malecon lined on one side by shops, discos, restaurants and bars and on the other side by the beach with impressive sand sculptures and rock pilings (once you see these, you'll know what I mean). We stopped by Cafe Roma for Margaritas and to visit Carlos, the head waiter--there is no friendlier restaurant. Beaches are just a few blocks from the ship and also in Old Town. In Cabo we tendered in to the Marina which a literally a mile long walk lined with shops, restaurants and bars. Numerous signs for 6 beers and chips for $10 US. After walking all the way around the marina there is a fabulous beach for strolling or swimming or jet skiing or para-sailing. The town is right off the marina so no need for cabs or buses.Cruise Staff included JT the cruise director who smiled and asked us if we were having a good time, but could work on sincerity and engaging his audience a little more. Amber the party planner was engaging, knowledgeable and energetic. You felt as if Amber would be doing this job whether she was paid or not. Monique delivered the cultural and shore presentations. These were pretty dry and we skipped all after the first, although we had looked forward to a little Mexican culture. Overall this was great cruise on a wonderful ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
My husband and I researched the Oosterdam thoroughly in preparation for our trip over spring break, and read such a strong pull of opinions on either side (good or bad), that we realized we just wouldn't truly know until we took the ... Read More
My husband and I researched the Oosterdam thoroughly in preparation for our trip over spring break, and read such a strong pull of opinions on either side (good or bad), that we realized we just wouldn't truly know until we took the trip ourselves.Because of such mixed reviews and not knowing who to believe, I am hoping to do you a favor by providing you with the complete details of the Oosterdam ship that will hopefully benefit your travel preparation! I have traveled on three different ships (Carnival, Disney and HAL), so I think I have a pretty good background to compare this trip to. Embarkation procedues:We waited about 45 minutes between arriving at the cruise terminal in San Diego, and getting to our room. There were people standing around the lobby areas to direct people to their rooms, but approach people-- just sort of stood and waited. I'm 26, and it took me about 5 nights to finally remember how to get to my room! I think the signage on the ship could be better. While we waited to leave, the Lido was open for lunch buffet, and I liked the fact that for 72 hours, HAL staff served foods. During the end of flu season, I saw people sneezing into their hands, and was glad they weren't helping themselves. :) They also have hand sanitizining stations everywhere-- so to the best of my knowledge, there were zero stomach bug outbreaks! Hooray!Rooms:The rooms were surprisingly clean. I was surprised how many different things in the room the staff sanitizes between guests (I saw them doing it)-- telephone, room magazines, remote controls, door handles, etc. Plus, our steward cleaned our rooms twice a day and changed our bedding every day! I was really pleased with how clean everything was-- bathroom and everything. The only thing I didn't like was how we had a concrete verandah so we couldn't see the ocean sitting down. I will definitely research that one more thoroughly next time. Food:This was the downside. The only excellent meal we had on the ship was in the Pinnacle Grill. The rest of the food was just decent. It definitely bore the feeling of being prepared in a hurry and without any thought put into it. Eating for pleasure didn't happen for us on the ship-- we just ate to fill a hunger pang. The Lido was actually better than Vista in our opinion, because the food was prepared fresh right in front of you. The Vista chefs just seemed really overloaded and overwhelmed. Fruit was soggy, entrees were bland, etc. I would recommend booking at least two nights at Pinnacle if you can-- it was literally one of the best meals we had ever! Expect dinners at Vista and Pinnacle to last a minimum of two hours. We had open seating and really enjoyed not only being able to eat when we felt like it, but meeting new people because we'd all sit together. We made a ton of friends this way! Unless you're traveling with a big party, I think you should definitely sign up for the open seating option. Also- HAL's biggest disappointment was how terrible their room service was. Every time we ordered breakfast it was cold and almost inedible, and when we ordered lunch or a snack, we would receive it about 1 - 1 /2 hours late-- again, cold and inedible. Their room service needs total improvement- don't order unless you are ordering the cookies or something. Entertainment:We loved the magician we saw, but the productions were really hokey and honestly not entertaining. We liked doing karaoke and bingo (of course didn't win), and also somewhat enjoyed the comedian. There was tons of raunchiness amongst the entertainment folks on this ship, which is unfortunate given their average guest is 65 years old. People didn't seem to think all of the sexual jokes were that funny. If you're bringing kids, I'd recommend only bringing them to the musical and the magic show. We only went to three performances out of seven because they just weren't great. We'd go somewhere and listen to live jazz or piano and have a glass of wine instead. If you're 35 or below, they have a great dance club that opens at 10:00pm. My husband and I had fun dancing and then just walking back to our room a couple of times. Overall we didn't really feel like entertainment options were lacking on this ship-- they just weren't things we really enjoyed doing. Ports of Call:Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas were awesome. The only excursion we did was visiting Las Caletas, and we had an amazing time. I highly, highly recommend going there, even over Rhythms of the Night. We had some friends who did both, and enjoyed the day at Las Caletas much more. We just walked around town the second day and relaxed. When we went to Cabo San Lucas, we had an incredible time swimming at a nearby resort (Sirena Del Mar). Unless you are passionate about visiting Cabo Wabo and being ripped off by the local merchants, head to a hotel for the day. It's the right way to experience Cabo!Also, don't go to Diamonds International or Tanzanite International. The ship has a huge kickback program with them, but the diamonds they tried selling me were so much more expensive than back home, and they were damaged by so many fingers trying them on then putting them back- yuck. I visited three to price shop, and was incredibly unimpressed and disappointed with Holland America for trying to dupe their passengers so much. You'll see what I mean when you attend the shopping meeting. :)Overall, for $600 pp, this ship was a great experience. You get what you pay for. If I were paying $1500 pp, I would have been sorely disappointed. I don't recommend paying more than $800pp-- you can get much more for your money with Disney or Princess if you are going to pay over $1000! HAL is budget travel at best- and if anything, a great way to see Mexico! Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
We arrived at the dock at approx. 12:00 to find a line around the entire pier. Come to find out the ship had arrived 2 hours late. The taxi driver took us to the front of the line. The cruise personnel directed to the back of the line so ... Read More
We arrived at the dock at approx. 12:00 to find a line around the entire pier. Come to find out the ship had arrived 2 hours late. The taxi driver took us to the front of the line. The cruise personnel directed to the back of the line so we drug our bags all the way to the rear of the line. 2 hours later as we slowly moved forward we saw other taxi's dropping people off at the front of the line and the people went right on to drop their luggage and on into the building for check in, NOT GOOD! We had pre-printed our luggage tags as requested to do so on the online check-in. We were instructed to staple the tags on our bags but never got a chance to do that before hand. As the line was moving we asked the personnel available if they had a stapler and they instructed us that they would have have one when we dropped our luggage off ahead. When we reach this point and asked the baggage attendant for a stapler he said and I quote "I ain't got no stapler, if I had one it would've never got back to me anyway".... So he then instructed us to fill out bag tags manually and attach them to our bags, we did so and left our bags with the attendant and continued to move ahead with the rest of the cattle. AT this point we were only about 1/2 way there, ugh. The lines continued on and we finally got on-board about 2:30 pm and the ship was set to sail at 5 pm. We made our way to our stateroom then decided to check out the Lido Buffet. What a mistake that was. There were excessive lines, and they were running out of food at every station. My fiancee waited in the Asian food line to only be asked if he would like white or brown rice as that was all they had available when he got to the front of the line. Also, having been on several cruises by 4 cruise lines we have never seen the buffet food being served by the staff in small individual portions. After a couple of days they loosened up and let us serve ourselves but that was really strange. After that fiasco we went back to our room to find that our luggage had not been delivered yet. We went down to the front desk to inquire and after finding yet another lengthy line and waiting our turn we were taken to a room to see if our luggage was in there as unidentified. We did find one of our bags with identification attached, they then changed the story and said they were holding it for security purposes. They stated that they had found a knife in our bag. When we told them there was no knife in it they released the bag to us but we didn't want to haul it up to our room without knowing where our other bag was and they couldn't seem to produce it. After trying to get them to call our room steward to see if our other bag was in our room they kept saying we needed to go up to our room to check for ourselves. We finally took our bag and went to our room and found our other bag there. During all of this the ship set sail and we missed the chance to see the ship leave port and all off the festivities. That is how the first 5 hours of this cruise went. We will just try to give you the pros and cons from here on in. PROS: Entertainment was somewhat enjoyable. The food in the Vista Dining Room at dinner was good and the choices were many. The Pinnacle Grill was AWESOME to say the least. Well worth the extra 20 bucks each. The room steward was punctual and entertaining and the room was very well kept. The towel animals were always interesting. CONS: Entertainment shows were not timed so the people at the late dinner could get there and get a seat before the shows started and the theatre is very small. The portions in the Vista Dining Room were the smallest we have ever seen on any cruise we have been on. The server didn't seem to ever ask you if you wanted anything to drink. The Lido Buffet variety was slim and the quality of the food was poor. It was very difficult to find a beverage person to bring you a soda, etc. The hours that the Lido was open was not conducive to most passengers needs. So make sure to check their schedules before you head down there because you might not be able to get anything to eat at all. We ordered room service twice and they got the order wrong both times. We ordered from the 24 hr room service once and they were out of one item and then wouldn't allow us to use our drink card for room service when they delivered the food. We asked the room steward to keep our ice bucket filled and that was very hit and miss. One night they had a so called "Chocolate Extravaganza" and it was anything but that. The chocolate in the chocolate fountain was like water and the deserts we really nothing special. Also, it took place on the Lido deck by the pool and there was NO lighting there. They brought out portable flood lights so you could hardly see what you were eating. Again there was a scheduling issue with this event. The evening show was still going on when the extravaganza started. Very poor event scheduling. In the room the TV is very small and has a horrible picture. Even in the Screening room the quality of the picture was not up to standard. Should at least HD. The Superbowl was shown in the Vista Lounge where all the evening shows take place and the quality of the picture for that major event was poor and not HD either. That ends our Pros and Cons section. As far as disembarkation went, it was pretty smooth but we didn't turn in our luggage after our earlier experience and carrying them out ourselves was no problem. After all the cruises we have been on we have never ran into a more confused, uninformed and inconsiderate group of passengers. The ship is staffed by mostly Indonesians so the cultural issues are very prominent lead to what we would perceive as inefficiency. Holland America's attraction is price but the money you save isn't necessarily worth it. When we cruise again we will select another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
We were married in September and took the Jan.8-15 7-night Mexican Riviera Cruise for our honeymoon. It was my first cruise and my wife's third. We flew into San Diego around 11am and were warmly greeted by name by the staff. They ... Read More
We were married in September and took the Jan.8-15 7-night Mexican Riviera Cruise for our honeymoon. It was my first cruise and my wife's third. We flew into San Diego around 11am and were warmly greeted by name by the staff. They directed us outdoors to a nice full-sized tour bus. We boarded the bus, and since we were the first to board the bus we sat in the front seats and waited for the other passengers. After waiting about two minutes, the driver hopped in and off we went, the only ones on the entire bus! --So far so good, but I had heard nightmare stories about boarding, long lines, etc. Perhaps because we were early, there was no nightmare, and we were checked in and on board our ship all in less then fifteen minutes. We booked a Superior Veranda Suite and it was wonderful. Jetted tub, separate shower, twin sinks, tons of closet space and plenty of drawers, and the best part of it was the balcony itself. I cannot imagine going on any cruise (and never will) without having a deck. I have done a great deal of traveling and found this to be one of the most favorable and memorable vacations I've ever spent. I seriously cannot think of any single thing or occurrence regarding this ship that would make me want to choose a different cruise line. To be grossly picayune, the ice buckets are quite small and calling room service sometimes resulted in a long wait. Finally, after figuring out where they kept the ice machine, it became much quicker and easier for me to simply walk a few steps down the hall and get it myself instead of waiting for someone to bring it. The only other negative thing I can think of was their special night of Le Cirque, the restaurant offering at a special rate. The meal was certainly excellent, but I paid extra for the wine pairing and I was shocked when they brought a very heavy and sharp Bordeaux to accompany my Halibut. We ordered coffee with dessert, but it was not served until after the creme brulee. It may seem like a small thing, but for a world-class establishment such as Le Cirque, those were glowing errors. Conversely, dining at the Pinnacle Grill was equal to or even better than the Le Cirque experience. The hostess at the Pinnacle was top-notch. On our first time there, we were brought to the back of restaurant and seated next to a table of ten, with little children present. When the hostess showed us our table, she caught the look of utter disappointment in my wife's eye and before we even said a word, asked us if we wished to be seated elsewhere. That's true professionalism in action. The Lido was excellent for wonderful breakfasts and lunches and the midnite buffet contained food presentations that were stunning. We paid extra for spa treatments and massages, facials, and the use of the steam, sauna and hydro-pool, and it was worth every penny; highly recommendable. The Promenade Deck runs all the way around the ship, which is perfect for long walks or jogs, and I found that not all ships have that available. The bars? All very good, although the sports bar could've benefited from a few more TV's, but that's probably because it was during the NFL playoffs, and that attracts a fairly good crowd. Suffice to say, everything about this trip was nearly perfect, and by the time it ended, my wife and I were nearly heartbroken at having it come to an end. From start to finish HAL showed us a very good time and wonderful hospitality. I recommend them highly. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Observations and opinions. The Oosterdam is a perfect size. 3 laps around the promenade deck equaled one mile. Walking on this teak deck was a joy. The ship is in generally good condition, very clean with lovely lounges, bars, ... Read More
Observations and opinions. The Oosterdam is a perfect size. 3 laps around the promenade deck equaled one mile. Walking on this teak deck was a joy. The ship is in generally good condition, very clean with lovely lounges, bars, coffee shop, theater,and main dining room. The Lido pool deck area seemed in need of some updating and the red carpet on the spiral staircase in the Atrium needs to be replaced immediately, but overall the ship is lovely. My husband and I loved our verandah cabin. It was small, a little worn, but very efficiently laid out with good storage and a fantastically comfortable bed and of course the fabulous verandah. I had booked a VH guarantee with HAL, so was quite pleased with the location we were assigned, Deck 7, #7032. I thought the food was mostly very good, though opinions really varied about this among the passengers we met. Some thought it was very average to awful! We enjoyed the shows in the Vista Lounge. The lead singers of the production shows ( there were 3 of these shows,) a young married couple were amazingly good and the dancers were excellent. The sound system at times was too loud for me and I heard others also complain about this. My husband and I like to dance, ballroom and West Coast swing, and were able to do so every evening we wanted to in the Neptune Lounge. There were other couples who knew how to dance so we were not alone on the dance floor. The service workers work so hard and were usually gracious and friendly. At times there did not seem to be adequate staffing in the MDR and service was slow. I recommend making reservations for the As You Wish Dining if you don't want to wait for a table. There were rough seas from the time we left Cabo San Lucas on Thursday evening until we docked in San Diego Saturday morning. The ship was rocking and rolling. I did not like this constant motion. Luckily neither my husband nor I got seasick but we heard of others who did. Despite rough seas, a little worn carpeting etc., we had a wonderful time and appreciate how very fortunate we were to be able to spend a week on the MS Oosterdam!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
We went on this cruise as a part of a group that my mom put together and being native to San Diego it was easy for us to fit into our schedule. We took a shuttle to the terminal instead of parking and it was well worth it. The shuttle ... Read More
We went on this cruise as a part of a group that my mom put together and being native to San Diego it was easy for us to fit into our schedule. We took a shuttle to the terminal instead of parking and it was well worth it. The shuttle takes you directly to the terminal doors and a porter was waiting to take our luggage; we didn't see our luggage again until we got to the room. Getting on the ship took all of 20 minutes. We got to the lido deck for lunch and that was a bit of a nightmare since there were so many people rushing to the food as though it was about to disappear. Around 1:00 the announcement came that we could go to our cabins and we arrived about 5 minutes before our luggage which made it easy for me to snap a few pics of a clean & tidy cabin. We sailed away around 5:30 and it was beautiful to see downtown San Diego lit up in the dusk...something I don't get to see very often. It reminded me of why I live in this great city! We stayed in cabin #5058 which was on the veranda deck towards the front of the ship very close to the elevators. When we first walked in we thought it was really small, but once we unpacked and found how much of our stuff fit into the cabinets we were pleased. The closets had plenty of hanging space and could convert into shelving if needed. There was a safe in one of the closets too. The veranda had a good view but I would have chosen to be about 5 cabins further back because we were right next to a portion of the ship that jutted out and blocked our view. We spent a lot of our time in the Crow's Nest Lounge & library which was directly above our cabin so it was quite convenient to go between the two with our laptop and books. The only drawback to this cabin was that the shower drained very slow and our feet were in about 4 inches of water at all times.Overall, the ship was nice and service was what we expected; it didn't seem to matter what time of day it was, but I always saw someone polishing a stair bannister. We thought the food was mediocre no matter where we ate and we got really tired of eating after about the third day. Even in the dining room, we felt that the food was comparable to any regular buffet so we felt a bit let down. Much of the food came out of giant cans and even the juices were often times watered down (FYI...tea, juice, coffee & milk are the only free drinks on the ship; you have to pay for soda). Afternoon tea and cakes was served everyday in the dining room, but once again it was mediocre; however it was nice to take a few minutes out of the day and have a bit of sophistication ... even if it was in our flip-flops. One night there was a party on the lido deck with chocolate fountains and fruit for dipping and that was very nice. The nightly entertainment was sub-par overall and unfortunately you couldn't get away from it. In the evening there was a musical group playing in every corner of the ship and it was never good. The shows were also excessively cheesy. There was one musician, a classical and acoustic guitarist named Taylor Brown, who was excellent and played often throughout the day; we made sure to catch one of his performances daily. We knew going in to this that we would be in a small demographic of "young" people and in general there wasn't a whole lot for us to do. There were ping-pong tables but they always seemed to be put away or missing the paddles. There was shuffle board, but there were only a few pucks so only one game could occur at a time. The gym was nice but you had to pay extra if you wanted to do any of the classes like yoga, pilates or spin...I was disappointed to have to pay extra for something that I expected to have been part of my booking costs. The explorations cafe was "activity central" with daily sudokus/crosswords and several puzzles for people to be occupied by. We learned on our last day that there was a closet full of board games that you could check out. We spent quite a bit of our time in here since our weather was quite chilly & windy...we enjoyed this portion of the ship. This is also where there were numerous computers and a fairly large library. There were two pools and 5 hot tubs but they were all covered up by 9pm everynight. With so much to do during the day we always seemed to have time to hit the hot tubs by about 10pm so it was disappointing to not be able to benefit from the tubs. Overall, we were somewhat let down by the cruise, but we still were able to relax. I don't think we'll be cruising on Holland America again until we're in their demographic which will be in about 30-40 years. This ship and or cruise line really caters to senior citizens and though we weren't looking for a party cruise, we wanted a tad bit more energy. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
We embarked from San Diego, which is a wonderful port in itself. Spent the night at the Hampton Inn (very close to the cruise port) the night before. Embarkation was a bit slow, but in light of increased security, it was understandable. We ... Read More
We embarked from San Diego, which is a wonderful port in itself. Spent the night at the Hampton Inn (very close to the cruise port) the night before. Embarkation was a bit slow, but in light of increased security, it was understandable. We like the Celebrity process where previous cruisers with the line have an expedited boarding. But this wasn't bad. Our cabin, 8033, was one of the smaller veranda cabins. It was really small, but offered enough storage. If and when we sail again with Holland America, we would choose a suite. We were traveling with friends who did just that and they had an incredible cabin with a large bath and sitting area and larger balcony. Everything was very clean and the bed was super comfy. We had courtesy robes, which makes it much more pampering. The balcony was large enough with nice wicker chairs (one with ottoman). We were on the starboard side and we always had good views the way we were docked in each port. One thing that stood out on this ship was the entertainment. All of the performers were a notch above the standard cruise fare. Very talented entertainment crew and wonderful choice of guest entertainers. We had Leo Ward, a magician and illusionist, who was also very funny---loved him. We had a comedian named Barnaby who we adored and another comedian/ventriloquist named Don Bryan who was hilarious and the best we've seen. We also saw Delores Park, a singer, who was incredible. Just fabulous entertainment and we looked forward to each night's offering. Okay, there has to be a few things that we weren't crazy about. The dining room was beautiful, but there was no background music, which would have been nice. Our wait staff was wonderful. Our waiter was Viand and he couldn't have been nicer and more attentive. But the menu----I admit we are just plain old Southerners with not the most sophisticated palettes on the planet. But the offerings on the menu were extremely gourmet and the items offered all the time were limited. I love a shrimp cocktail. I only got one and that one had 3 medium sized shrimp. We never had lobster offered. The entrees were heavy. They always had a spa offering which was lower in calories and fat. The only other thing I could criticize on this cruise or the ship was the smoking policy. I have asthma and did not appreciate the fact that smoking was allowed in the casino and the sports bar. I don't know if it was allowed in any other public rooms, but we had to go through the casino often and it was horribly smoky. Also, we would have like to go to the casino occasionally, but couldn't. The Australian Open was on during the cruise and we wanted to go to the sports bar to see it on a bigger screen, but couldn't because of the smoke. There are cruise lines who have a stricter policy and unfortunately, we will have to go to them even though we prefer Holland American. The Fitness Center was very good and the staff were very helpful. We didn't use the spa, so can't speak to that. The Lido Grill is probably the best at sea. There are so many choices. There is a Bistro section (sandwiches, deli), an Asian section, etc. Something for everyone. The Pinnacle Grill was the alternative dining with charge ($20 pp at night, $10 for lunch). The menu is very good, the food excellent and the presentation is beautiful. We didn't think the wait staff were very friendly, compared to our regular dining room. We ate there for our anniversary evening and for my birthday. Our cruise director, Patty, was down-to-earth, friendly and made the cruise fun. She is one of the very best cruise directors we have had. We've been on twelve cruises and we've seen all kinds. The Ports: Mazatlan was okay. We didn't do a shore excursion and opted for a taxi ride to the old town to do some looking around and shopping. We had lunch, then back to the ship. Puerto Vallarta is beautiful and easy to get around. We lived there for a short time, so we love going back as often as we can. We got a taxi and took our friends for a tour of the town. There are scads of 4 and 5 star restaurants there, so food is not a problem. Shopping is good too. Look for the Mexican pewter bowls and platters---very pretty and useful. The Malecon is great for walking along the water and people watching. Hautulco was extremely old and dirty. We walked around a bit. It was very hot. Not much shopping. There were some interesting excursions offered. That it the best bet in this port. Acapulco has a lot to see. The cliff divers are the most interesting. We took an excursion on a boat around the coastline of Acapulco, saw the cliff divers and a lot of famous homes. Very nice. Cabo San Lucas is a wonderful port. Scenic and clean. We walked around, got a water taxi to The Office, a cute little beach restaurant that is very famous. On the way, our captain took us to Los Arcos and the rocks where the sea lions gather. This is a bargain ($20 for two) and you get to see a lot. Disembarkation was a snap. You receive a color luggage tag and you remain in your cabin until called. They were running a little late,due to having to clear some guests through customs, but we were off the boat by 10:30 am. We had a 2:00 flight back to Florida, so we had plenty of time. There is an expedited disembarkation offered at $19 pp for luggage and $19 pp for transportation. We just got a shuttle and went to the airport, which was about 5 minutes from the port and it cost $10. The Oosterdam is a beautiful ship, Holland American does it right. This was our second cruise aboard Holland. This itinerary was perfect for us with 5 days at sea and 5 ports (6 including San Diego). We were rested when we got home. Love those longer cruises!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
My husband and I had a wonderful, relaxing trip to the Mexican Riviera on the Oosterdam.  We took the February 21-28 cruise that stops for two hours in Bahia Magdalena to watch whales and other marine life.  We chose this cruise ... Read More
My husband and I had a wonderful, relaxing trip to the Mexican Riviera on the Oosterdam.  We took the February 21-28 cruise that stops for two hours in Bahia Magdalena to watch whales and other marine life.  We chose this cruise specifically for the whale watching.  We are in our early 50s and this was our fifth cruise; second time on Holland America.  Even an outbreak of the norovirus did not spoil the cruise for us.  The staff took every precaution to stop the spread of disease while serving us in style.We arrived by car from Riverside on Saturday and used the Park & Go lot with an online coupon. (We paid $49 for the week.) The shuttle driver kindly took us back to our car when we realized we had forgotten our cell phone. Embarkation took a total of 25 minutes: 5 minutes to check in and 20 minutes to wait until it was our turn to board. The port facility is not very pleasant. Aboard the ship we headed straight to the Lido buffet, which was very crowded. It was frustrating going from station to station to get what we wanted, and we did not have a tray to put things on, so we kept having to go back. We finally found an empty table outside by the pool, but we had to put up with smokers all around us. The food was quite good, but the beverage glasses were tiny and we kept going back for refills. After lunch we explored the ship and then relaxed in our room until the lifeboat drill. HAL takes this drill very seriously, and they are efficient about it. Our luggage was not delivered until 5pm. We had a "fully obstructed view," but in fact only about half of the view was obstructed with pulleys and hydraulics for lowering a lifeboat. Once we saw a man working on the equipment outside of our window. The room was well-lit and comfortable, but there was only one decent chair for the two of us. The bathroom was a good size for a cruise ship, but this was a handicapped room (even though we are not handicapped). The problem with the room is the lack of drawer space, other than very small drawers at the sides of the bed. Also, our large suitcase had to stand in a corner rather than in the closet so that our clothes would not get crushed. The temperature control was touchy; it took us two days to get the room at just the right setting, and then the temperature kept changing anyway! The two days at sea at the beginning of the cruise got a bit boring. We took a Spanish class both days and went to afternoon tea (always a good experience). We walked around the Promenade Deck for exercise along with many other people. We also used the only two elliptical machines in the gym. We spent reading, doing crossword puzzles, and lounging around. We spent a good portion of each day eating. The Lido buffet food was very good, but we got tired of constantly getting up for beverages, dessert, etc. On the "at sea" days the buffet was quite crowded for breakfast and lunch. Once we had lunch in the dining room to escape the crowds and noise, and the food there was excellent. dinner in the dining room was excellent each night, and most of the time (but not always) the portions were generous. Appetizers and salads were excellent, but the soups were sometimes skimpy on ingredients. Desserts were excellent, except that the ice cream was always half melted by the time it arrived. (Even at the buffet the ice cream was melting when we got it.) Dinner was leisurely; it took 90 minutes to 2 hours for us to finish a meal each night. Some nights we had problems getting our beverages refilled. Overall, though, dining was an enjoyable experience. One night we had an outstanding meal with great service at the Pinnacle Grill. This was definitely the smoothest cruise we've been on out of five. The whale watching from 7am-9am on Monday was enjoyable, but this is NOT a photo opportunity. We often saw spouting water and tails at a distance, and one gray whale swam close enough to the ship for us to see its mottled back. We also saw porpoises leaping out of the water and a sea lion swimming by, but again at a distance. If you want to get closer, you have to pay for an excursion on a smaller boat. The norovirus broke out early on our cruise. We were informed right away, and the staff took extra precautions. We were no longer able to dish up our own food from the buffet, and we could not check out DVDs. All common items were taken off the tables at meals (salt and pepper, etc.) We were reminded constantly to wash our hands and use the hand sanitizer. One of the people at our dinner table for six came down with the virus and was confined to his room for most of the cruise. But his wife never got it, and she kept joining us for dinner. None of the rest of us got sick. Each day we were informed about the progress of the disease. About 100 people (out of 1800) came down with it; apparently many of them had cabins in the same area of the ship. When our cruise ended we discovered that the media had blown the outbreak all out of proportion and were even reporting false information about our cruise. We are cheapskates when it comes to shore excursions. On Tuesday in Mazatlan we just took a cab to the cathedral (beautiful inside), walked through the interesting market, and looked at the Peralta Theater. After a couple hours we returned to the ship. On Wednesday in Puerto Vallarta we had a lot more fun. We took a cab to the cathedral (worth a visit), and we enjoyed walking along the Malecon looking at the statues and the intricate sand sculptures. We had a nice Mexican lunch at La Chala along the Malecon and were serenaded by musicians. There are some very good, reasonable shops in the area. Then we took the cab back to the Wal-Mart by the port and bought some souvenirs. Next to Wal-Mart is a modern shopping mall. On Thursday in Cabo San Lucas we paid for the HAL shore excursion that was a boat ride to El Arco and then a bus trip to an overlook. It was very hot that day (probably 100 degrees), and we stood around for 45 minutes before we were herded onto a boat. The boat ride and the views were wonderful great photo opportunity. But by the time we got back to shore, we had no interest in going to the overlook restaurant. We and several others chose just to go back to the ship at that point. (I wish we had just gone to shore and found a cheap boat ride in the first place, instead of paying the inflated price for a HAL shore excursion.) Tendering was a fast and easy process for us. Friday, the final day at sea, got a bit boring for us, but that was o.k. because we could rest up before returning to work. Entertainment on the ship was pretty good. The singers and dancers were talented, but the show itself was uninspiring. The Olympic gymnast was very entertaining and fun to watch. The magician was also quite good and humorous. I was hoping to see the Elton John impersonator, but he was not on our cruise. Disembarkation was fast and easy. Then we stood around at the port for about half an hour waiting for our shuttle to the parking lot. We did feel like the young people on this cruise. The average age must have been in the 60s. At times I got tired of hearing pre-rock 'n roll music in the lounges (e.g. Frank Sinatra). Occasionally I heard some Rolling Stones, but the piped-in music never seemed to get beyond the 1960s. The upside of having an older clientele is that people are very polite to each other and know how to make conversation. Also, it didn't hurt my ego to feel young for a change. Overall, we like Holland America cruises. In fact, we booked our next cruise while we were on this one. We're impressed by their professionalism and their class. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
This was our third cruise. Previously we had cruised with another couple. This was our first time going it alone. All of our cruise experiences have been on HAL. (Our first cruise was to the Caribbean on the old Westerdam in an ... Read More
This was our third cruise. Previously we had cruised with another couple. This was our first time going it alone. All of our cruise experiences have been on HAL. (Our first cruise was to the Caribbean on the old Westerdam in an oceanview. The second was also to the Caribbean on the Volendam in an oceanview.) This cruise was to the Mexican Riviera out of San Diego. We weren't looking specifically for this destination, but the rate was too good to pass up. It was SO much less expensive than comparable length Caribbean cruises at the same time. This seems to be one of HAL's best value cruises since it is still substantially cheaper than other HAL offerings a year later. ABOUT THE EMBARKATION PORT. San Diego was a pleasure compared to Fort Lauderdale (where we sailed from on our previous cruises). You could even walk from the airport to the cruise terminal if you didn't have to deal with luggage! (It's about 2 miles.) We flew in a couple days before and stayed in one of the several hotels that is within a few blocks of the terminal. We stayed at the Hampton Inn which was a two block walk to the ship. We walked pulling our wheelies behind. There is a high-rise Holiday Inn immediately across the street from the terminal - after checking out from your hotel, all you need to do is negotiate a crosswalk to check in for the ship. The whole experience of airport-to-hotel-to-ship transfers were absolutely painless. The proximity of the airport made catching your flight home much less stressful, too. ABOUT THE CABIN. We booked an SY cabin (Superior Veranda Suite) for about $800. Some time before saildate (maybe 6-8 weeks) we got a call from HAL asking if we wanted to upgrade to SA (Delux Veranda Suite) for $295pp. We jumped at it. The total for the cruise was just a little over $1300pp for the second largest stateroom on the ship. Was it worth it? Oh yes! It definitely was. The stateroom was more than 500sf with a very large and comfortable sitting area and a huge bathroom with two sinks, a jacuzzi tub and separate shower. There was a large, well-lighted dressing area with lots of closet space. The veranda was large enough for two lounges and a table & chair set. Waiting for us in the room was a bottle of wine (or was it champagne?). The stateroom was nicer than many hotel rooms I've stayed in. To give you a sense of how large it was: without moving furniture around, there was enough open floor space for the two of us to stretch out on the floor and do yoga! Another benefit about having a suite is you get priority boarding and departure. We didn't know this when we checked in, but as soon as we cleared check in, we were told to go right on board. A nice unexpected perk. NAVIGATOR LOUNGE. For passengers booked into Deluxe Veranda Suites and Penthouse Suites, there is a Navigator Lounge. It is a large, comfortable room in the center of the ship (no windows). There is constantly food and drink (coffee, tea, juice) available for self-service. (The staff will also offer to have you sit and they will get what you want.) We got our breakfast from this Lounge every morning and walked down the corridor to our room to enjoy our breakfast on the veranda. There is a nice breakfast selection, an excellent variety for a light lunch, hors d'ouvers in late afternoon, pastries and sweets all along the way. We would also go to the lounge to have tea and play cards mid-afternoon. It is a very quiet, comfortable, welcoming place. SPA & HYDRO-THERAPY SUITE. We splurged ($250/cpl) for the week and used the hydro-therapy suite. The eucalyptus steam rooms, heated ceramic lounges, and luxurious, quiet and large therapy pool were totally worth it. I lost many hours that week in utter relaxation! THE SHIP. I was a bit concerned about the size of the Vista Class ship. Our two previous cruises were on significantly smaller ships. One of the things I liked about those experiences was the lack of crowds. I was pleasantly surprised. The only time I felt at all crowded was our first night going into the dining room. There was a long line with people waiting to be shown to their tables. That didn't happen subsequent nights because people knew where their tables were. The ship felt exactly like the other HAL ships I was on. I liked the familiarity and definitely liked how the 1800+ passengers seemed to disappear nicely! It was never even a problem finding a deck chair at the pool or on the Promenade. THE FOOD. I have read mixed reviews about the food on HAL. Personally, I have yet to be disappointed. We're both "foodies" and appreciate fine dining. The meals in the main dining room consistently surprised me. I always marvel at how they serve so many people such high quality food. The Pinnacle Grill is very much worth the small surcharge. The meat that I've had there surpasses what I've had at most dining establishments on land. SERVICE. We had a table mix up our first night. Since this cruise was a celebration for our 20th anniversary, we really wanted to have a table for two. We were seated at a table for six (or was it even larger?). This was a big disappointment (and the only one on the cruise). We chose not to dine there that night after discussing the mix up with the dining room manager. The next day we got a call in our stateroom from the manager - he would have us seated at a table for two for the rest of the cruise. One night we off-handedly mentioned to our waiter that it was our anniversary. The next night he surprised us with a "Happy Anniversary" cake. This was particularly nice because, as a gay couple, we really appreciated the being treated as a couple. The dining room manager even wished us a happy anniversary when he next saw us. These little personal touches are the types of things that have happened on each of our HAL cruises - and it's one reason why we're brand-loyal. NOTABLE POINTS ABOUT THIS CRUISE. I particularly liked that 3 of the 7 days were at sea. I really enjoy at sea days. I wish HAL had more cruises to nowhere. When I'm looking for a cruise I look for one with a high ratio of at sea days. We had lots of whale and seal sightings on this cruise. We enjoy jazz and classical music. Each night in the Explorer Lounge after diner there was a string quartet that was truly excellent. It was a lovely way to close the evening. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
Oosterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 4.5 3.6
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.2

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